The Venture Fellows program was designed to increase the number of venture professionals in Michigan in order to accelerate the fundraising and deployment of capital into early-stage companies many of which are in Michigan.
A total of 22 individuals were part of this program from 2011 thru 2018.MVCA had determined that there was a significant demand in Michigan for young professionals with career aspirations in venture capital. Although Michigan’s many business colleges and MBA programs produce qualified candidates, much of this talent is exported to other states. Furthermore, even though many Michigan venture capital firms need associate-level human resources the economics of smaller venture funds do not allow for hiring full-time talent at competing market salaries.
MVCA staff worked closely with awardees to ensure success, holding quarterly lunches with the venture fellows and arranging educational opportunities. Staff also engaged the fellows in a number of ways to participate in volunteer opportunities to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem—such as serving as reviewers for venture capital funds and/or judging and reviewing various business plan competitions around the state.
In 2017, MVCA created additional eligibility requirements for participating venture capital firms to be dedicated to building a diverse and inclusive entrepreneurial and investment community in Michigan. Each firm was required to add a statement in their application package that described how the firm has supported diversity and inclusion initiatives or its potential to make contributions to this area.